Friday, September 25, 2015

Organic India Tulsi Tea Review #Momsmeet

When the temperature starts to drop outside, I like to warm up with a hot cup of tea. Whether it be a spicy and creamy Chai or a wonderful herbaceous  (it's the equivalent of bodacious-ness in herb speak) infusion. I want a cup of liquid so hot, it would warm even Scrooge's rickety, old bones.

So when there was a chance through Mom's Meet to review Organic India Tulsi tea, I jumped! When I got the box in the mail, I quite literally squealed like a little piglet. It felt like Christmas! (I guess you know what I want for Christmas... she said unabashedly).

I received seven boxes of tea to review! Seven! Of which I will describe later in the post! I also received psyllium husk! Which is amazing for gluten-free and egg-free bakers (like this granola bread) and basically makes you poop like Superman... if he did poop. Who knows because he's not human, right?

I immediately heated up the stove and put the kettle on because honey, time was a waisting.
And then I rubbed my hands together while I devised a recipe made with psyllium... a scone worthy of all the holy basil tea. Check out these Revolutionary Cranberry Orange Scones here.
Before we begin, let's talk a little about Tulsi.
Tulsi is a wonderful adaptogen herb, meaning it helps the body adapt to stress. It can create an overall sense of wellbeing and restore balance. The antioxidants in Tulsi help protect against free radicals and strengthen the immune system. It can help the body more efficiently use oxygen and support respiratory health. It's also anti-inflammatory and aids liver function.
Organic India's Tulsi tea includes three varieties of Tulsi leaves: Rama, Vana, and Krishna. Combined, they are powerhouse of taste and antioxidants!
And you can save 20% by using code kiwi20 and purchasing from Organic India's website. And go give them a like on facebook.
I enjoyed all the teas that Organic India sent - they each could be categorized in herbal, floral or fruity notes. After some research, I found that Organic India also creates a few chai tulsi teas. I'm looking forward to purchasing that at the store because chai teas happen to be a favorite.

Here are the flavors I tried (I starred the ones I would definitely buy again):
Original - wonderfully herbaceous with a little bit of basil spice *
Red Mango - a rooibos base with red mango flavor *
          I love red tea so I enjoyed this one immensely. The fruity mango mixed with the basil             
          was a perfect combo in my book.
Pomegranate green - nice green tea + fruit flavor but my least favorite, strong in tannin
Sweet Rose - nice floral (but not overly strong) notes + a tea I'd want to drink with my grandma *
Raspberry Peach - fruity and fun, my daughter  liked this one the most
Peppermint - very subtle mint flavor (I like it strong) but combined nicely with the herby spice of
Honey Chamomile - my favorite, very great soothing honey and chamomile taste *

Overall, I was very impressed with selection. Tulsi has really impressed as an herb and I enjoyed learning about it through Organic India.
I hope you enjoy your cup of tea today! And don't forget to check out Organic India!
Big Blue Eyes wanted to take a picture of me holding the tea. Of course, I smiled! Even though I'm sans make-up.
I received these products for free, in exchange for my review, from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 

Revolutionary Cranberry Orange Sunflower seeds Scones Baking with Organic India Psyllium Husk #momsmeet

These revolutionary scones are free of flour! No cutting butter into these! They are rich and rustic, studded with sunflower seeds.

And the best part? They dirty one dish and are super easy to mix together... because I'd rather eat scones then clean up after them.
Full of healthy fats and fiber, these babies will power up your morning.
To make these, you will need a secret ingredient which we call Psyllium Husk by Organic India. Using this helps the batter stick together. Psyllium Husk is available from Organic India and right now, you can use code kiwi20 for 20% off your purchase.

Psyllium husk is an interesting ingredient. It makes you poop like Superman - soaks up water in your gut and increases bowel movement. It's great for digestive health; it can help get things moving but doesn't create flatulence!

This soaking and sticking characteristic of psyllium husk helps these scones to stick together. For another recipe using psyllium, check out my Granola Bread. The great thing about these scones is a lot of ingredients are interchangeable (besides psyllium husk and chia seeds). You can use loosely chopped walnuts or more coconut for sunflower seeds, exchange craisins for figs or raisins, add cinnamon or nutmeg, and use coconut milk instead of orange juice.
The batter needs to sit at least two hours so I suggest mixing them the night before then forming them in the morning (it's easier than playdough!) before you bake.

These scones are part of a review that Moms Meet, find out more here and Organic India sponsored. I'll be reviewing the tea in the next blog post.

Meanwhile enjoy these! Sweet eating, my friends.

Revolutionary Cranberry Orange Sunflower Seed Scones
1 cup oats
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 TB whole psyllium husk
3 TB sunflower seed oil
3 TB maple syrup
1/3 cup craisins
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
Orange zest

1. Combine all dry ingredients in bowl.
2. Mix in orange juice with a spatula until the dough starts to stick together and you can form a ball (some it may be a little loose).
3. Let sit at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. Bake at 350 degrees on parchment covered tray for 20 minutes then flip for another 15 or until edges start to brown.

These scones are part of a review that Moms Meet and Organic India sponsored. I received this psyllium husk for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Learning about the Night Sky and Chocolate Night bark

This last year, I've been doing Motherhood On A Dime's God's Little Explorers preschooler program with my four year old. We've really enjoyed it. It's flexible and easy to add or change if need be. Big Blue Eyes loves that we read a story from the bible each week (the weekly plan centers around that as well) and she particularly enjoys the songs. I love the addition of chore ideas (learning to fold laundry, sweep the floor, etc.).

This idea stems from U is for Up in the Sky. It's week 27 in the God's Little Explorers program.

Big Blue Eyes really enjoyed the pinpricking constellation idea and then drew with a white crayon to connect her constellations (picture below). We also checked out Fancy Nancy: Stellar Stargazer! from the library and did some nighttime sight-seeing.
We used to have a preschool/kitchen book but I was not pleased with the ingredients in most of the recipes so I was trying to come up healthy alternatives or just starting from scratch. When I was trying to think of a "whole food" alternative to making constellations or an edible night sky, I received Sarah Britton's cookbook My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season in the mail. I was flipping through it and I found a recipe for what she deems "Night Sky." I was sold!

Her recipe is a wonderful totally-from-scratch chocolate bar recipe so please buy the book so you can try it her way (plus you'll get to enjoy all her other amazing recipes). Here, I've substituted chocolate chips for an easier alternative for Moms and children. Then I laid out the "Star and Moons" toppings in little glass bowls for Big Blue Eyes to decorate the bark with. She had lots of fun and was excited to enjoy her Night Sky treat! This would also be a great gift idea for children to help make.

I know I mention "healthy alternatives" and here I am showing you how to make chocolate bark. Shame on me! This is, of course, a treat. But a fun one!


Night Sky Chocolate Bark
3 cups chocolate chips (Enjoy Life semi-sweet and Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate are both dairy-free)
Large tablespoon coconut oil
Star and Moon toppings:
Bee Pollen
Rose hips (dried)
Coconut flakes
Pink sea salt
Goji Berries
Chopped Nuts and Seeds
Dried Blueberries
Freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries

1. In a double bowler, melt chocolate chips and large tablespoon coconut oil.
2. Once melted, spread chocolate on a parchment paper-lined tray.
3. Sprinkle with star and moon toppings.
4. Let cool in refridgerator then cut and enjoy.

All the toppings can be found at your local natural grocery store, amazon, and Mountain Rose Herbs, my favorite place.

I'd really encourage you to buy her Sarah Britton's cookbook. I usually steal borrow my mom's cookbooks but this one I knew I needed my own copy.

And if you are looking for a homeschool program, make sure to check out Motherhood On A Dime's God's Little Explorers preschooler program. I plan to do that program with my next child when he is old enough. For now, I am planning Big Blue Eyes' kindergarten year. Excited and pumped for a new year of homeschooling!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Just Peachy Lemon Balm Smoothie

To be peachy or not to be peachy... that is the question.
Well, if you are trying to be peachy and not succeeding, you probably need a little more lemon balm in your life.
Just saying.

Lemon balm is a natural nerve tonic. It calms and soothes anything from frazzled feelings to sleepless nights to baby's toothaches. There is a reason Lemon Balm has "balm" attached to its name. How very astute of us to notice!
With its lemony flavor and bright taste, this herb will liven up any smoothie. We added additional greens for a chlorophyll - rich smoothie and chia seeds for extra nutrients and a little omegas. I love adding chia seeds; they make for a fluffier smoothie without additional ice.
So if you know you're going to have a particularly difficult day (or enduring it as we speak), nourish your soul and body with a little lemon balm and a good book ( I recommend Queen by R.J. Larson or any of her wonderful series).

Just Peachy Lemon Balm Smoothie
1 cup coconut water (or nondairy milk)
3-4 peaches, depending on size
2 leafs of kale
Handful of Lemon Balm
Handful of ice
2 TB chia seeds
Blend and enjoy! And I hope the rest of your summer is just peachy!
We've been enjoying lots of peaches thanks to a wonderful peach-picking day with grandparents and great grandparents.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Psalm 62:1-2

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Learning to Braid using Pipe Cleaners

Need something for your preschooler to do:
Bright? Colorful? Inside activity? Practice motor skills?
Check all of the above! And there is a wearable finished product!
Sounds good.
All you need are pipe cleaners, tape and a surface that is tape-able (that's a word, right?). Because mothers of preschoolers know that not all surfaces are "tape-able".
Twist the ends of three pipe cleaners (using different colors is helpful).
Tape it the table.
Now show how to pull apart three strands and starting with one side layer over the middle so it's now in the middle.
Then repeat with opposite side (great opportunity to talk about opposites).
Repeat and repeat until done.
When finished, twist ends and twist together to form bracelet if you choose.
Our lovely pipe cleaner braid bracelets...

Again, a lot easier to show then instruct.
And if you need a load of pipe cleaners, don't forget to check amazon!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Breaded Zucchini Steak Fries

Our garden has all but taken off... but only in the zucchini section. I think we've eaten our family's weight in zucchini. Who else has been enjoying their zucchinis?
So far we've had zucchini eggs, zucchini gazpacho, zucchini scones, zucchini muffins, roasted lemony herb zucchini, zucchini noodles, chocolate zucchini donuts and I'm dying to make this Zucchini Firecracker Cornbread out of this cookbook My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season.
And we're trying zucchini pickles - naturally fermented. Let's see how that goes.
So it begs the question... what can't you make with zucchinis?
Here is the first zucchini from my garden. Yum! It was played with before we ate it. Our baby tried to nurse it, however that proved a rough error for him.

I've seen zucchini fries but they were always loaded with cheese. Why not a better version and why not something everyone can enjoy - vegan, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, nut free. Let's just cover all the bases.
A great plant-based snack or side dish (we ate them as the main entree at lunch because who wouldn't want fries for their entire meal?). The flaxseeds, sesame seeds and buckwheat make for a healthy "breading". Sesame is a great source of calcium, iron and magnesium. Flaxseeds are a great source of omegas and fiber.

Serve with homemade ketchup or hibiscus ketchup.

Breaded Zucchini Steak Fries
1 medium - large zucchini
A little oil to dip zucchini in
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
5 TB Buckwheat groats
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of lemony thyme, optional

1. Preheat oven to 425. Layer baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. In a coffee grinder, grind buckwheat and flaxseeds until a flour forms. In a large shallow bowl or plate, mix seeds, flour mixture, salt, garlic and herbs. Set aside.
2.  Pour oil onto another large shallow bowl or plate.
3. Slice zucchini in 3-4" long rounds (1 zucchini only takes 2-3 cuts to do this) then slice those in half lengthwise. Now make 1/2"-3/4" inch cuts lengthwise for large steak fries.
4. Dip fries first in oil then coat in flour mixture. Place on parchment-covered tray. Bake 15 minutes then turn and bake another 10-15 minutes.

What garden produce are you enjoying? And have you had to find new uses for vegetables? Please share!
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